It is quoted that: with education one can make great scientific and technological breakthrough, can curb hunger, can stop child labour, can prevent spread of nuclear weapon, can promote peace and the can finally have power to change the world. To this point I am ceaselessly hopeful that education can get Africa out of the quagmire that we are in. It can boost our effort to demystify social innovation and social entrepreneurship in Africa.
CSR is the process of companies giving back to the society part of the profit they have accrued by doing business in a certain area. The process and the intentions however differ from one company to another. I have addressed the question of CSR before in my article promises to keep in 2015. In the article I had reservation and still do if CSR is to be purported to be carried out by a government office or parastatal. According to Joe Biden the current vice president of the US, CSR is the absence of public social responsibility (PSR). Public officers shun doing what they are paid to do but will always want to go out and contribute in some funny community activities. This is not what I refer to as CSR in this article.
I want to imagine of Equity bank foundation’s wings to fly program that is helping several young people from the humble background in Kenya to access education, I want to talk about the many foundations that have been started by companies, individual and groups to give back to the society. I want to talk about scaling up of the generous acts of what Courtney E Martin refers to the unlikely social entrepreneur in his article the power of the unlikely social entrepreneur that was published in Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR). I want to talk about how all this effort can be harnessed to bring back sanity to education system for future benefit of the continent.
According to an article by Kethi D Kilonzo published in the standard daily in Kenya on 15th February 2015 she observes that better educated workforce can help fight poverty. According to the article by Kasturi Rangan et al – the truth about CSR – published in Harvard business review, the authors have observed that if well planned and organized CSR can transform the world. This reorganization is what my heart yearns for. I think this is the kind of realization that the European Union commission have come to hence pushing for the advancement of social innovation and social entrepreneurship. I think the same realization has given bill and Melinda gate the audacity to prophesying in their annual letter published in the Economist on 24th -30th January 2015 indicating that the lives of people in poor countries especially in Africa will improve faster in the next 15 years than any other time in history.
How then are we going to utilize CSR to contribute toward the fulfillment of bill and Melinda Gate prophesy? In their book- Talent Managers -Bill Conaty and Ram Charan argues that leaders need to create an atmosphere of thirst for learning openness and trust. If all leaders of every organization will think of how to help that child whose future is blurred like mine was some time back to get a glimmer of hope I bet the efforts will not be frustrated.
I can dare say that if every organization took part not in giving palliatives but helping to get young to teach in the bulging number of pupils in schools In will be a great mission. I admire the effort of Wendy knopp of teach for America but we have so many people with similar initiatives here in Africa but they are constrained because of lack adequate of resources and publicity. If corporates in their CSR effort will help to build systems of teaching Social Emotional Learning to develop social skills we will for sure be growing at the rate Bill and Melinda gate are referring to. Just like Jack Welch said there should be no boundaries that prevent sharing of information and collaboration across silos. I also believe that if we share our problems we will have half solved them.
But for us to experience proper dissemination of the required information for development of proper education system, then we need to have people with the characteristics that were identified in talent managers who can lead a social process like the social innovation and social entrepreneurship. Talent managers should:
Lead the social process that support and reinforce talent development and should make themselves role models- this will give other people a chance to learn from their leaders.
Make talent management as rigorous as finance management – believe me wherever your resources are there lies your heart and you will fight to death 9f someone came to steal it.
They understand that talent will be key in future- these people should well understand that strategies will come and go, market share profit wax and wane, but any society that builds a self-renewing population of first rate citizen is prepared to handle anything that tomorrow brings. This will help us prepare the future workforce who will be working in the knowledge and service society. Like Albert Einstein says ‘you cannot solve a problem with the same level of consciousness that created it’. It is imperative then to develop new consciousness.
Set the tone for dialogue and conversation – the talent managers should learn to moderate and set the agenda for the society, they should be able to inspire before their expiry date as Pepe Minambo a motivational speaker puts. They should allow people to test the flavor of their salt. They should be able to let the light shine like a lamp at the hilltop and I believe this will be the gate to prosperity of social innovation and social entrepreneurship in Africa. These I also hope will be the beginning of the end of social injustice and atrocities in Africa
Let us keep the dialogue alive.